Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch

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The Great Lent (Sawmo Rabo) Sunday, March 1 - Sunday, April 20, 2014

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Patriarchal Encyclical Concerning Easter Celebrations

IGNATIUS PATRIARCH OF THE HOLY SEE OF ANTIOCH AND ALL THE EAST

SUPREME HEAD OF THE UNIVERSAL SYRIAC ORTHODOX CHURCH

ZAKKA 1ST, IWAS

We offer our apostolic benediction and benevolent prayers to our brethren, his Beatitude Mor Baselius Thomas 1st, Catholicos of India, and Their Eminences the Metropolitans, our spiritual children the Patriarchal Vicars, monks, priests, nuns, deacons and virtuous deaconesses, and our blessed Syriac Orthodox People worldwide. May the divine providence embrace them through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and St. Peter the head of the Apostles, and the rest of the saints and martyrs. Amen.

After asking for your well-being, we say:
Further to our Apostolic Bull Reference: 149/2013 issued on 24 April 2013 and in light of the latest events and the absence of any fresh updates in relation to the kidnapping of our dear brothers Mor Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim, Archbishop of Aleppo and environs, and Mor Boulos Yazigi, Metropolitan of Aleppo and Alexandretta for the Greek Orthodox Church. We renew our call to all the faithful of our Church worldwide to continue their prayers beseeching God the Almighty to shower us and together with His Eminence Mor Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim and His Eminence Mor Boulos Yazigi, His peace and tranquillity and to return the two Archbishops to their Archdioceses so they can continue serving the Church and the nation.

We know that many of our spiritual children and friends worldwide are praying with us asking that all efforts currently exerted to release the two Archbishops continue, ensuring the safe return of the Archbishops to their ecclesiastical service.

We continue our communication with heads of all sister churches and in particular the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch as we exert every effort and obligation worthy of this event.

After consultation with the esteemed members of our Holy Synod we have decided to limit the celebrations of Palm Sunday and the Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord to the celebrations at the church, and we are to decline the visits of any well-wishers during this holy season if our Archbishops are not released.

May God the Almighty accept your fasting and prayers. Amen.

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